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State Senator in Oklahoma Supports Medical Marijuana
State Senator Constance Johnson (D-Oklahoma City) is facing a long, uphill battle in her quest to bring medical marijuana to her state. Senator Johnson has introduced a medicinal marijuana bill every year since she was first elected in 2005, but her bills have yet to receive a hearing in committee. She is now petitioning the Republican chairman of the Senate Health and Human Services Committee to allow a study before the Legislature reconvenes in February.
"The legislative process moves slowly. It's taken seven years just to get a study, and even that's not a given," Johnson said. "I'm an eternal optimist, and I'm optimistic that it will get a hearing one day. Things are changing.
"More and more people are going to speak up and speak out, and that's how change happens, when it happens at the grassroots level."
Without elected officials like Constance Johnson, very few states would have medical marijuana laws on the books. It is a very long process, especially in states with entrenched conservative, religious values. For instance, the Oklahoma Legislature recently passed a bill allowing a sentence of up to life in prison for a first-time offender who attempts to convert marijuana to hashish.
"With our Legislature, it's always a race to the draconian finish line," said Chad Moody, an Oklahoma City defense attorney who specializes in drug cases. "If one lawmaker says we need a $100 fine for jaywalking, the next one says they want the death penalty because they want to be tough on crime.
"I don't understand why this Republican Legislature doesn't want liberty across the board."
In many instances conservative politicians are so blinded by their own ideology that they fail to even consider the other side of the medical marijuana question.
Victory for medical cannabis patients only comes after many years of effort.
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